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Kaaren Palmer's March 2016 Champagne News

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Apologies


Apologies for the long silence due to responsibilities of finally giving birth to the book, which began life as A Year of Champagne, a journey with friends, is now being published as Champagne – a tasting journey. It’ll be launched in Reims, Champagne, in April during Champagne Week. If you’re there, you’re invited – details coming later about this and an Australian launch later in the year. 

Kaaren Palmer

Local News

...Adelaide, South Australlia

There’s a champagne bar in Adelaide at The Stag click here to see more.

Or choose any champagne from the fridge or shelves (wait 20 minutes for the ice to be effective) at East End Cellars ’ Tasting Room, and enjoy on site. Mother Vine, also in Vardon St, has champagne on the list, plus be reminded that 2KW, Sean’s Kitchen will provide you a glass on the way to The Apothecary’s sabrage room, which goes gangbusters on a Friday night, and what a champagne list they have!
 
The Edinburgh Cellars hosts James Smith’s two champagne educational sessions on growers and Grandes Marques in April. Always worth attending. Details from the Ed or book online
 

Australian News


Our flute runneth over! The dollar is no worse than it was a few years back, and competition has made prices keener. There are some bargains out there, such as Lanson both NV and vintage at Dan Murphy, Pierre Gimonnet and Piper-Heidsieck at First Choice and Vintage Cellars. Australians consumed 24% more champagne in 2015 than in 2014, and we are Number 6 in the world outside France, with the UK and the USA pretty much neck-and-neck. Big Houses dominate. Further details at The Drinks Business or The Australian

International News

Light-hearted videos with a genuinely serious story highlight Madame Clicquot’s indomitable spirit. Enchantingly told by Juliette Binoche, accent intact....click here.

From the same House, we have new totally biodegradable packaging, using an amalgam of potato starch, pressed grape skins and recyclable paper for the new champagne box, which can maintain the fresh temperature of the bottle for 2 hours. And in line with the usual quirky style of the House, the box opens out to reveal….. a bunch of grapes! Reported in the French graphic arts press – Naturally Clicquot. 
Image courtesy Champagne Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin

Reported 9th March at www.bioaddict.fr
Organic growers call for ban on herbicides in the Champagne appellation.

Organic growers of the Aube (also known as the Côte des Bar) met to call for the prohibition of herbicides to be listed as one of the preconditions for producing champagne. The meeting was held Tuesday, March 8, 2016 in Bar-sur-Seine by the Syndicat Général des Vignerons (SGV). The prohibition, which some winemakers would like to see implemented in 2017 would affect over 85% of the vineyards in the Aube. About 15% of wine producers have already stopped using synthetic herbicides. They feel that their agreeing to their demand is the correct course of action because the pleasure of drinking champagne can’t be altered by the presence of synthetic pesticides, which are known to be toxic to human health and the environment. They aver that the champagne Houses of the Côtes des Bar, such as Champagne Drappier, Champagne Fleury, Champagne Jacques Lassaigne and Champagne Didier Doué, as well as many independent winegrowers of the Aube and the Marne have understood the importance of giving champagne the image as well as the reality of a product of pleasure, while being healthy. But will this request suit producers of champagne?


And yes, we do have some of these excellent grower and House champagnes available in Australia, plus the House of Louis Roederer moving in the right direction.

Charles Heidsieck’s

new cellar master, Cyril Brun (ex-Veuve Clicquot), extols the beauty, consistency and complexity of non-vintage champagne from his Grande Marque, commenting meanwhile on all the larger Houses’ immense capacity to store reserve wines from prior vintages. In his interview, W. Blake Gray from Palate Press covers topics such as the order of release of vintage champagne, the length of time between vintage releases for Charles Heidsieck in particular (brut 2000 and 2005, rosé 1999 and 2006, although 2005 may be released at a later date), reserve wine handling (wines are stored separately by region, by grape variety and by year), and the effect of climate change on the region. Your Champagne Editor was wondering whether raising the average age of the reserve wines in Charles’ NV by a couple of years would reduce the freshness of the CH champagne. Amazingly, this is not so. Get together with a handful of friends. There are still bottles of the older NV available for sale, and these can be tasted side-by-side with the newer square-shouldered bottle with the grey label. I’m sure that you’ll agree with me – amazingly, the older average age of reserves has yielded a freshness that moves slightly away from the mellow autumnal tones of the previous incarnation. And do scroll down and read the valuable comments of Caroline Henry, who appears to have spent even more time in beautiful Champagne than I have. To read the full interview, and Caroline’s comments, click here. And if you’d like to muse on a poem that matches this wine, it is Keat’s Ode to Autumn click here


Serious wine buffs

will also want to read about the influence of grape solids during fermentation, a report by the same author click here.

If, however,
your preference is music

and you happen to be going to Paris in early March, well, I’m very sorry that you have missed Krug matched to music in the gorgeous location of the garden of the house of Nissim de Caimondo, which is now a most intriguing museum to be found at rue de Monceau (near Parc Monceau). Well worth a visit, with or without Krug, in my opinion!
 

Kaaren Palmer

Champagne Editor
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First there was

Champagne Ayala’s

Perle d’Ayala Nature Millésime and Champagne Bollinger’s Vieilles Vignes Française Vintage without added sugar (dosage) in some years, but prestige champagne usually contains a little bit of sugar to finish it, albeit in reducing amounts with the advent of warmer vintages. Now Pommery is releasing a zero-dosage Louise. Extended time resting on lees always softens the most acidic champagne, and prestige cuvées always spend more time on lees compared to the standard Vintage and NV. More news at the blog click here.

Champagne Jacquart’s

αlpha prestige cuvée wine packaging, designed by Barbara Asei-Dantoni, won a trophy at the recent Paris Design Awards. Watch out for the new pack in Australia in due course.
 

If you’re going to Paris

esteemed reader and photographer and now fine champagne importer, Victor Pugatschew, discloses to us the whereabouts of a very tempting delicatessen-cum-champagne-bar
and to check out Vic’s website and join his mailing list click here.

Lanson’s

de-lish rosé is the top UK sparkling, and who can be surprised? It’s savoury-sweet, fresh and enticing. Read about it in Harpers click here by all means, but better still, buy some!
Photo © Victor Pugatschew


Placomusophilia

the love of collecting champagne caps is alive and well, not just in my trio of large fishbowls. Each producer offers something different, and some are little works of art. The handsome set below is from Champagne Vilmart, whose 2003 Grand Cellier d’Or (with a ‘stained glass’ cap of pre-‘modernisation’ era) was consumed the other evening, divulging a ravishing melange of aromas, including pressed flowers, tropical fruits, cooked apple and spice….

To see more collections click here or attend one of the Saturday markets or trash-and-treasures in Reims or Épernay.
Photo of Emmanuel Lassaigne © Victor Pugatschew
See also....Food Photographer of the Year 2015 Victor Pugatschew: winning pictures click here.
Copyright © 2016 Ann Oliver, All rights reserved.


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